There is no question that exercise is good for overall health. However, the type, intensity and amount of exercise required for diabetics is debatable. Some experts recommend intense exercises and others suggest any type of exercise, as long as it is performed regularly and for a reasonable time.
Prior to starting any exercise, diabetics should speak to their healthcare provider to ensure that the type of exercise they are taking is okay for them. Some diabetics may need to undergo a complete physical exam and/or blood tests to make sure that their heart and other organs are fine. Once approved by the doctor, one can start on any exercise that is fun and enjoyable. Do not start an exercise that you dread because chances are you will discontinue the program in a matter of days or weeks. The key is consistency and continuity.
Types of physical exercises that can be done regularly include cycling, swimming, walking or jogging. It is important to make exercise part of the daily routine and perform it at the set time. Whether one performs the exercise in the morning or evening is not important as long as it is done on a regular basis.
Prior to any exercise, stretch your body and loosen up the muscles. Try to exercise for at least 30-60 minutes 4-6 days a week. If you have not been physically active in the past, start with walking for a few weeks and then gradually build up to more intense aerobic exercises. It is important to know that walking briskly for an hour a day can help you lose 300 calories. This amounts to about 2000 calories week, which is slightly more than half a pound in weight. Within a month, you can easily lose about 2 pounds in weight.
To avoid boredom, vary the type of exercise. Walk one day, go swimming the other day and perhaps even go dancing over the weekends. Resistance training like weight lifting and even yoga are helpful. Exercise when done regularly can help lower body weight and blood sugars. Since physical exercise does induce a drop in blood sugars, monitor your sugar levels prior to any activity. If it is on the low side, eat a snack before the activity.
Exercise can even be performed at home. You may set up a room for light weight training, yoga or have a static bicycle. Again, the exercise should be performed for a minimum of 30 minutes. There is no harm in performing exercise for longer periods or more frequently.
Since exercise can cause thirst from dehydration, drink ample water. Drinking other sugary beverages is not recommended as it simply defeats the purpose of exercise.
To ensure that exercise is lowering your blood sugars, keep a record of your blood sugar levels. As you start to lose weight, you may also need a lesser dose of your diabetic medications. Other added benefits of exercise for diabetics include lowering of blood cholesterol and blood pressure.